Babbs in the Woods: Another Barbara, another elk

Her name is Barbara. She lives in Arkansas and she drew an elk hunt permit in 2008.

My name is Barbara and I belly-crawled across a field in Arkansas in 2008 to get a closer look at an elk.

You may read all about Barbara Mallet over in the news section, and it’s quite a coincidence that her husband, Allen, drew a tag this year (one of six out of 7,000 applicants!) for a bull. Barbara’s tag entitled her to one cow. Nevertheless, what are the chances of a married couple in Arkansas drawing tags one after the other in consecutive years? You’ll need to read the story to find out if Barbara was successful.


But first … the short history of the elk in Arkansas

The U.S. Forest Service brought in three bulls and eight cows from Oklahoma in 1933. No one knows why for sure – although the “p” word has been mentioned, but the herd disappeared by the mid ’50s.

I’ll trade you 250 bass for one bull …

A new elk restoration project occurred in 1981, courtesy of the Game & Fish Commission, in cooperation with private citizens (maybe some members of the Elks Lodge) and the National Park Service. Actually, the Game & Fish folks traded some smallmouth for elk from Colorado. One hundred twelve elk were released at five sites near Pruitt.

Back to the hunt …

I  hunted for turkey in Arkansas in Spring 2008, courtesy of Knight and Hale. One of their pro-staff members, Mick Bowman, and I hunted hard for two days and tried every turkey tactic in the book, or so it seemed. And, no one else had much luck either. In fact, none of the hunters bagged a bird on that trip.

Mick and I hunted all afternoon, and sometimes the wind sounded like a freight train on a track right behind us. Then, the sun went down, the wind died and as we walked out we spotted something big and brown lying in the tall grass of a meadow, about 440 yards (It’s so great to have been in track in high school) away. We grabbed our binos and saw the elk lying there, oblivious to our movement. I said I wanted to check that out and see how close I could get. I hit the ground, crawled out of my turkey vest and grabbed my binos and started belly crawling. I looked back. “Aren’t you coming?” I whispered to him. “Nah, I’ll stay here and see how far you get,” he said.

I went farther and farther, popping up out of the grass every so often to take another look. The elk stayed there. I kept crawling until I was within 100 yards, and then I crawled a little closer, 75 yards then 50. I remembered that it was spring and that beef and milk cows don’t really like it when people mess with their babies. I wondered if soon I’d be in her danger zone when her mama instincts, aka “killer instincts,” kicked in. My heart started racing and then this voice, this voice that often screams to me, yelled in my ear, “Hey, you idiot! Can you run outrun that?” And, I figured I’d better turn around. I didn’t have a desire to get nose-to-nose with her, although it would have made the story more interesting. So, I turned back and crawled back halfway and then stood up to walk. When I stood up, she stood up and limped away.

Mick told me that he’d been watching her and it looked like her right front foreleg was broken at the knee level. He called the local conservation agent and reported it.

And, that just goes to show … you can be out there turkey hunting and run across an elk. That’s just life in the outdoors. That’s why we like it.



  • About Barbara Baird

    Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in hunting, shooting and outdoor markets. Her bylines are found at several top hunting and shooting publications. She also is a travel writer, and you can follow her at


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